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Study: University completion rates among children of immigrants

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The Daily

Monday, September 22, 2008

Children of immigrants tend to achieve higher levels of education than children of Canadian-born parents, but there are wide differences in rates of completing university among young people of different national origins.

Youth of Asian immigrant parents, except for Filipinos, had higher rates of obtaining a university degree by the time they were aged 25 to 34 in 2002 than most youth of European origin.

University completion rates ranged from over 65% for youth of immigrant parents from China and India to 24% among second-generation German and Central and South American youth. As a benchmark, about 28% of the children of Canadian-born parents had completed university by the time they were aged 25 to 34. Nearly one-third of youth whose parents were from the Caribbean, Portugal and the Netherlands completed university education.

The higher university completion rates among children of Chinese and Indian immigrants remained when differences among the youth in abilities in the two official languages and parental educational levels were taken into account. These are important factors that influence the likelihood of youth completing university.

Among Europeans, differences in university education attainment within second-generation youth were relatively small after group differences in family background were taken into account.

Note: Using the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey, this study examined differences by national origin in university educational attainment among the children of immigrants in Canada. It focused on a sub-sample of about 3,300 young adults aged 25 to 34 who were either Canadian-born children of at least one immigrant parent, or who immigrated to Canada at the age of 12 or younger. They are referred to as the second-generation youth. The study also included 2,700 children of Canadian-born parents as the comparison group.

The study, "Group differences in educational attainment among the children of immigrants", is now available as part of the Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series (11F0019MIE2008308, free), from the Publications module of our website.

Related studies from the Business and Labour Market Analysis Division can be found at Update on Analytical Studies Research (11-015-XIE, free), which is also available on our website.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Teresa Abada (519-661-2111; ext. 83690) or Feng Hou (613-951-4337), Business and Labour Market Analysis Division.